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Coach Regragui sounds note of caution as Al Duhail seek encore against Sharjah

Coach Regragui sounds note of caution as Al Duhail seek 
encore against Sharjah

Tribune News Network
Wecloming the return of their striker Mohammad Muntari, Qatar Stars League champions Al Duhail would seek an encore against UAE’s Sharjah in the reverse Group C fixture in Round 4 of the 2020 AFC Champions League at the Education City Stadium on Friday.
The Knights had defeated Sharjah 2-1 on Tuesday with goals from Almoez Ali and Ramin Rezaeian and have been exuding confidence. Currently second on the points table, a win on Friday will ensure knockouts qualification for Al Duhail.
Coach Walid Regragui, however, wants his team to be cautious. “Sharjah need a result against us to still be in the race for qualification, so it will be very difficult for us,” said the former Morocco international defender.
“In the AFC Champions League there are no easy games whatsoever. Even though Sharjah have not played competitively in the last six months, and that is not an advantage for us.
“In Europe we saw teams like Olympique Lyon & Paris Saint Germain whose domestic league was cancelled, but they went all the way to the semi-final and final of the UEFA Champions League respectively, so we need to be careful and not think that will make it easy for us.”
Al Duhail had beaten Persepolis 2-0 in Doha in their AFC Champions League opener on February 11, but lost 0-2 to Al Taawoun in Jeddah on February 18 before the tournament was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Al Duhail will be keen to take advantage of their own strengths and exploit Sharjah’s weaknesses as they seek a repeat victory. The likely return of influential midfielder Karim Boudiaf from an injury layoff should also boost the chances of Regragui’s wards.
In contrast, Sharjah are still seeking their win in the AFC Champions League in 16 years but they are gaining in confidence.
Sharjah midfielder Khalid Bawazir believes there are a lot of positives for his side to take from their 2-1 defeat to Al Duhail two days ago.
Bawazir, a UAE international playmaker, joined Sharjah from fellow UAE Pro League side Al Dhafra in July and came off the bench in the second half for his competitive debut for the club.
Suspensions for Uzbek international Otabek Shukurov and Mohammad Abdulbasit, both of whom received their second booking in the competition on Tuesday, means Bawazir is set to be handed his first start at the club in the Matchday Four fixture.
“I am no stranger to many players at Sharjah. I have played with many of them either at my previous clubs or with the age group national teams,” said the 23-year-old.
“The players were very welcoming and that helped a lot with the transition. It was mostly a matter of adapting to the tactical style and needs of the manager.
“We got a negative result against Al Duhail, but we hope to have benefitted from our mistakes and that we can make amends and get a better result against Al Duhail to qualify to the next round.
“Mistakes are part of the game and anyone can make them. We must learn from our mistakes, but we cannot afford to be too cautious as we try to avoid making mistakes.
“The coach believes in all of us, those who made mistakes and others who play in the same position to learn from the mistakes.”StandingsGroup C
Club M W D L GF GA GD Pts
Al Taawoun 3 2 0 1 3 1 2 6
Al Duhail 3 2 0 1 4 3 1 6
Persepolis 3 1 1 1 3 4 -1 4
Sharjah 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1